Environmental Effects of Oil Spills
The environmental effects of oil spills vary in degree according to the type of oil, ecosystem, season and current water conditions. Oil spills are one of the most unfortunate accidents that happen when there is extraction, production and transportation of oil.
Effects on Environment from Greenhouse Gases
The extensive utilization of oil has resulted in increasing amounts of emissions of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide which cause warmer temperatures on the Earth’s surface. The change in climate will have the potential in affecting choices regarding future energy and also encourage the use of less resources that emit too much carbon. It will also challenge the availability of water all over the world. This will result in a change in the patterns of precipitation and would widen the deficit in regional supply. There are already millions of irrigation wells that have been dug up to get water from deposits in several regions. The water pollution that came from agriculture, wastewater of households and industries have contributed to scarcity of the water resources and has decreased the rate and quality.
Environmental Effects of Water Pollution From Oil Spills
Water and climate have a direct relationship with each other because water possesses unique properties that can affect the temperature of the earth. It can also affect the way the planet absorbs the heat that is coming from the sun. That is why there is a need to manage our water resources effectively because water is an essential element for the crucial processes of earth. If water becomes a scarce resource, this will greatly affect the climate on the planet and can risk human and other species of life here on earth. Water is also a contributing factor to the development of strong winds like hurricanes and typhoons. In oil spills that occur offshore, spills end up spoiling banks and shores that can block the tide. Oil companies are partly to blame for damages from hurricanes because of their contribution to land loss in essential wetlands and deltas. And land loss or erosion can result into extreme flooding near coastal cities.
Effects of Damage to Fisheries and Wildlife Caused by Oil Spills
Oil spills can cause extensive damage to marine life. The presence of too much oil in the ocean causes contamination of fishes and other marine animals. The environmental effects of oil spills can kill living organisms and aquatic animals due to the disruption of the ecosystem. When oil is spilled in the ocean, it will initially spread along the surface of the water. The wind and waves will eventually cause the oil to drift. Massive oil spills reach the coastal areas. If oil has a high level of toxicity, it will affect marine and terrestrial habitats of living creatures. The BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico may hinder the growth of normal vegetation (including trees) for years to come which may require the need of an ecological survey. This affects the balance of the environment since most marine animals need vegetation and unpolluted habitat for food and shelter.
Oil spills are hazardous to marine wildlife, plants and other living organisms. The environmental impacts of oil spills can be prevented during the process of oil extraction and production. The government and oil companies must enforce safety measures and standards to avoid disastrous environmental effects of oil spills in the future.
Photo Credit: Some rights reserved by USFWS/Southeast on Flickr.
Reasons to JOIN US include:
- It's absolutely FREE!
- Get Green Tips You MUST know about.
- How to's on going green, saving money, and having fun.
- Keep up-to-date on our posts in cased you missed them.